Maine’s Positive Story of the Day ~ Windham Primary School~
Windham Primary School’s third graders provide relief of first-day jitters for Kindergartners
As an adult, anxiety is a common experience when you start a new journey and step out of yourcomfort zone. Those first-day jitters are even more intense for five-year-old Kindergartners attending a ‘big’ school that houses almost 800 other students they have never met.
It has been a little over a month since the initial day of classes began for the RSU14 school district, and the kindergarteners at Windham Primary School (WPS) are already confident as they dive into the school year. That’s because third-grade students became ambassadors to the ‘new kids on the block’.
“When I was in kindergarten, I was scared to death about finding the right bus at the end of the [school] day,” Laurel Johnson, WPS third-grade student, said. “I wanted to be there for them, so they weren’t afraid like I was about missing the bus to go home.”
The third-graders shared ways they helped kindergartners’ anxiety, including having every day conversations. “We talked about our families,” WPS third-grader Matthew St. Cyr said about his companion. “She had a brother in second grade, and so we talked about him and what teacher he had. We also talked about when our birthdays were. Finding something to talk about helps you not to be so scared.”
The new students soon developed self-reliance and confidence in small steps. “We made sure that kindergarteners were ready to be without us,” third-grader Eva Doughty who also helped students walk to after-school care, said. “I actually tested them to see if they could find the correct bus or walk to after-school care before I stopped helping them.”
WPS Principal Dr. Kyle Rhoads said that it is always the goal to make WPS a child-friendly campus where students feel safe and secure. “It’s a great way for our new students to feel more at home and connect with their peers,” said Dr. Rhoads. “Having younger and older students connect with others helps develop social skills – skills that help to improve their educational experience.”